Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stephanie's Food For Thought: Spelt

I was asked to share with you my thoughts, motives, and reasons for choosing the unique ingredients that you will see featured in my recipes.  Okay so let's have a disclaimer first.

I am not a medical doctor, nutritionist, scientist, have any type of training, education, or the such in ANY field that would give me the knowledge to give you the most up to date and accurate information about food.  Please in no way except my knowledge as the absolute truth by which you will make food decisions for your yourself or family.  I will strive to include unbiased information gleaned from reputable sources as well as site those sources.  Thank you.

Here it goes, spelt, why have I chosen spelt?  I wanted to make changes to my families food choices, so I thought about the food they like now.  After listing off the food they like now I thought about substituting those foods for a healthier version.  Spelt is meant to replace all purpose white flour, my children love bread.  When i say my children love bread I mean they love to eat bread, pasta, tortillas, bagels, and English muffins.  I remember being in line at Costco placing my items on the conveyor belt thing and realizing oh my goodness we eat a lot of bread.  I was really wanting my children to eat a better version of their favorite food.  

My second realization was bread bought from a store even whole wheat bread was some what of a mystery to me, I don't know how long the flour sat on the shelf they used to make the bread, I didn't know all the ingredients in the bread, I didn't know if they had stripped the whole wheat of its bran to make the flour shelf stable.  I wanted to get back the control of my families food, I want to know what they are eating.  No I don't believe the food industry is out to get me, I think they are a business and are ruled by the almighty dollar and make decisions based on that.  

A good friend of mine years ago told me about live grains, and the idea of grinding our own grains and preparing them fresh to preserve the nutrition.  I decided when our bucket of flour was empty I wad ready to commit to a WonderMill and a new way of eating.  Okay so I haven't told you why I chose Spelt, sorry about that.  I searched Google trying to find the best grain to use instead of wheat.  I didn't want to use wheat, it can be hard to make into bread successfully, for me at least.  I wanted to find the healthiest grain to grind.  

What I learned was flour is not as healthy as I thought no matter what grain you choose.  As soon as you grind the grain it's Glycemic Index goes up.  Dr Weil explains "The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrate foods based on how quickly the body turns them into glucose (blood sugar), provoking an insulin response. Whole wheat bread and products labeled "whole grain" are not good choices because they usually are made with pulverized grains (flour) rather than whole or cracked grains. For that reason, most whole wheat bread has the same high GI ranking as white bread - about 70. I recommend cutting down on all foods made with flour and increasing consumption of grains in their more natural state, such as wild rice, barley, quinoa, millet and wheat berries."  His explanation can be found here.  

I excepted my fate with flour and decided we would still want food made with flour, so I wanted to find the grain that had the lowest GI(Glycemic Index) and that is when I read  "Spelt is an ancient variety of wheat that was common until industrialization made it less favorable to farmers than other types of wheat. (People who can’t handle wheat should avoid spelt because it’s part of the wheat grain family.) Spelt has a higher protein, B vitamin, potassium, and iron content than other varieties of wheat, giving it a nutritional edge. Multigrain bread made with spelt flour has a glycemic index of 54, making it a lower-glycemic bread choice.  Substitute spelt flour for wheat flour in recipes for cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, and even bread. Spelt-flour breads don’t rise as high as other wheat-flour breads because spelt has a lower gluten content, yet they can produce a delicious bread product in their own right. Spelt flour doesn’t require as much water as other types of wheat flour; start by using three-fourths of the required liquid in a recipe."  This information is found here.  

All of these nutritional benefits were enough for me.  I decided right then and their to put my lot in with spelt.  

I had to figure out where to find spelt.  I combed the internet again looking for the least expensive options and I found that for me buying a 25 lb bag from here was the best price for the spelt and I could have free two day shipping if I also signed up for Prime.  The picture above is what I buy.  The organic spelt Kernels come out to be about $1 a pound.  Yes spelt is more expensive then wheat.  For my family we have decided that we like spelt, as the person cooking I enjoy that spelt has a milder flavor than wheat and so far has been a really easy substitute in whole wheat recipes.  As for grinding your own spelt, that is up to you to decide.

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